It has been revealed that Namibia is using Chinese FN-6 man-portable surface-to-air missiles, which were shown during the recent Heroes’ Day celebrations.
Photos of FN-6 missiles in Namibia first surfaced in early 2016 when President Hage Geingob toured the country’s military headquarters at Grootfontein and inspected a variety of military hardware.
Defence expert Darren Olivier from African Defence Review asked “was South Africa’s 2016 import of 50 FN-6 missiles a conveyance to Namibia, or were they acquired for SA’s EW Centre’s foreign weapons exploitation unit to analyse in order to prepare countermeasures?”
According to the 2016 Arms Trade Treaty report submitted by South Africa, 50 FN-6 missiles were listed as being imported into South Africa from China. It has been speculated that they may have been acquired for electronic countermeasures (ECM) development for the South African Air Force (SAAF).
However, in response to a defenceWeb enquiry about the missiles, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) stated that, “the SANDF can confirm that there is no missiles imported from China in its possession.”
The FN-6 is a third generation infrared-guided man-portable air defence system in service with the People’s Liberation Army and exported to around a dozen countries. The FN-6 has been used as the basis for several other Chinese surface-to-air missiles, such as the HN and FY series. The weapon has a range of 6 km and altitude of just under 4 km.
A variety of other hardware was also seen at the Heroes’ Day celebrations on 26 August, which were held in the Kavango West Region of Namibia. This included multiple rocket launchers, howitzers and a number of Agrale Marrua light vehicles, some fitted with Kord heavy machineguns.
Namibia several years ago received a batch of small arms from Russia to equip its Marine Corps – the country finished training a full battalion of marines and formally commissioned its Marine Corps in July 2016. The small arms delivered included Kalashnikov AK-103 7.62×39 mm and AK-105 5.45×39 mm assault rifles, PP-19-01 Vityaz 9×19 mm sub-machineguns, SVD-S (based on the Dragunov) sniper rifles, PKP Pecheneg 7.62×54 mm and RPK-74M 7.62×39 mm machineguns, Kord 12.7×108 mm heavy machineguns, AGS-30 30 mm automatic grenade launchers and GP-34 40 mm under-barrel grenade launchers.
Namibia also ordered 9M133 Kornet-E (AT-14) anti-tank missiles from Russia.
Heroes Day commemorates the battle of Omugulu-Gwombashe on 26 August 1966, when South African forces attacked People’s Liberation Army of Namibia fighters, marking the start of Namibia’s liberation struggle.
Dr. Geingob elaborated further that war is never a good thing, nor desirable. It should not be an option in a free country. “We should remind ourselves that it is always easy to destroy,” Geingob said during his Heroes’ Day address. “But, to rebuild is a difficult and complex undertaking. One resorts to war only when diplomacy fails. War should never be an option in a democracy. We should always discuss peacefully.”
The President requested all to remain committed to the dream of creating a peace loving, united and prosperous country.